This I Believe

FINAL DRAFT – Everybody Deserves a Second Chance

Weird guy. Saw him talking to himself on the bus the other day.”.

She seems distant. Perhaps too arrogant to talk to anyone that’s not up to her standard.

I sometimes have these disturbing thoughts popping up in my heads. It’s tempting to judge people at first sight, just based on their social status, what they wear, how they talk, what colour their skin is, what others say about them. But I always manage to chase away that evil whisper. I believe we all deserve better than a hasty judgement. People worth learning about and being understood. I believe, that we all deserve a second chance.

When I was in kindergarten, an African – French family moved to my city. The couple sent their little daughter – Marie – to my school, and she was placed in my class. The population of my hometown wasn’t so diverse so it might be the first time most of us have ever been that close to a black person. She became the subject of local gossip, and soon after Marie’s presence, there was a wicked theory going around among the pupils: her “blackness” was transmittable, and people shouldn’t come too close if they didn’t want their skin to turn black as well.

I was five, and I was naive. Of course, I believed in what they say and did what they did. As ridiculous and pathetic as I was, I tried to stay away from the poor little kid.

One afternoon, Marie and I were the only two left waiting. It was getting late, and I was hungry. My stomach was grumbling when I noticed Marie sitting on the front stairs with a bun in her hands. It took me a long pause of hesitation, but my craving for food beat the fear of turning black, and I came sitting next to her. Marie turned to me with a big smile, split the bun in two and gave me a half. After finishing eating, I was surprised that my skin colour hadn’t changed. I felt terribly ashamed and regretful about how unkind I was to Marie. But fortunately, good things followed: we became friends, and Marie was not excluded anymore.

Marie and her family stayed for only a year, then went back to France. We lost touch ever since, but even now the memory of that afternoon sometimes keeps playing over and over in my head. A lot of times I asked myself, what if I wasn’t hungry? What if I was hungry, but Marie had nothing to give me? Then I wouldn’t have sat down with her, and figured out what a kind-hearted girl she was, and Marie might have ended up with no friend at all.

It’s a brutal thing we keep doing: we give ourselves the right to conclude about a person so carelessly. We tag them, and we call them names: weirdo, nigga, rapist, cocky face, fat ass, flirt, gay, idiot and loser. In Marie’s situation, she was called a black virus. We don’t care if it’s not fair: it’s easy, and it saves us a lot of time. We feel satisfied with what we think we know, while we should be looking for more.

Judging might be an easy way out. But I have no right to take away people’s chance to prove who they really are. Every time I’m about to draw a conclusion about a person, Marie’s there like a wake-up call, keeping me from being a careless critic.  I believe that people – despite how they appear to be – worth seeking behind their look. I believe in second chances. This I Believe.

2nd Draft

That guy is weird. Saw him talking to himself on the bus the other day.”.

She seems distant. Perhaps too arrogant to talk to anyone that’s not up to her standard.

We all have these kinds of thoughts popping up in our heads at some point. It’s common for people to be judged at first sight, based on what they wear, how they talk, what color their skin is, what others say about them. But I believe we all deserve better than a hasty judgement. We all deserve to be learnt about and understood. I believe, that we all deserve a second chance.

When I was in kindergarten, an African – French family moved to my city. The couple sent their little daughter – Marie – to my school, and she was placed in my class. The population of my hometown wasn’t so diverse, so it might be the first time most of us have ever been that close to a black person. She became the subject for local gossip, and soon after Marie’s presence, there was a wicked theory going around among the pupils: her “blackness” was transmittable, and people shouldn’t come too close if they didn’t want their skin to turn black as well.

I was five, and I was naive. Of course I believed in what they say, and did what they did. As ridiculous and pathetic as I was, I tried to stay away from the poor little kid.

One afternoon, Marie and I were the only two left waiting. It was getting late, and I was hungry. My stomach was grumbling when I noticed Marie sitting on the front stairs with a bun in her hands. It took me a long pause of hesitation before I plucked up my courage and came sitting next to her. Suddenly Marie turned to me with a big smile, split the bun in two and gave me a half. There our friendship started, with a little courage, and a bun of kindness.

That’s all I could remember about how we became friends. Marie and her family stayed for only a year, then went back to France. We’ve never met again ever since. Later when I got older, my mom filled in what was missing from my memory about that day. When Mom came to get me, Marie’s mother was there waiting for her. The woman burst out in tears even before she could say anything. There was a kid that didn’t despise her daughter. A kid that didn’t refuse to share her daughter’s snack. After all the terrible things Marie had to go through, it was all she asked for. The mother couldn’t feel more grateful.

A lot of times I asked myself, what if I wasn’t hungry that afternoon? What if I was hungry, but Marie had nothing to give me? Then I wouldn’t have had a new friend, and Mary would’ve ended up with no friend at all. But that’s how life usually is. We are not motivated to really get to know people. It’s a brutal thing we keep doing: we give ourselves the right to judge a person just by looking at them. We tag them, and we call them names: weirdo, nigga, rapist, cocky face, fat ass, flirt, gay, idiot, loser. We don’t care if it’s not fair: it’s easy, and it saves us a lot of time. But we’re missing out a lot of how wonderful that person could be. So give them a second chance. Dig deep, and seek for the wonderful things that were obscured by what the eyes can see. Let them speak for themselves.

Because we all deserve a second chance. This I believe.

1st Draft

When I was very young, my mom sent me to a kindergarten run by a church.

Everything started from that school. I learnt. For the most parts, I were aware of the fact that I was learning: drawing, counting, coloring, singing, … At the same time, there were some other things that I took up unconsciously, like making friends. And giving other people a second chance.

Kindergarten had been kind to me. I was a great eater and therefore the favorite kid of the teachers (well, it could be hard to get some kids finish their dishes). I got hit by a swing and ended up with a dent on my chin, and I won several story-telling contests. And there came my last year at the kindergarten, before I moved on to an elementary school. I guess I could call myself a kindergarten senior by then. When there were supposed to be not much left that I could learn from that school, I actually just began to learn the most important.

That year, an African – French family moved to my city, since the father had some business in the area. The family sent their little daughter, named Marie, to the nuns’ school, and they put her in my class. The population of my hometown wasn’t so diverse, so it might be the first time most of the children in my school have ever been that close to a black person. Until now, I still haven’t had an idea of where the rumor came from. Maybe the event was so unusual that some were startled and began to have weird thoughts. Or perhaps it was the naughty kids who wanted to make up scary stories to frighten off others. Anyhow, there was a wicked theory going around among the pupils soon after the girl’s presence: her “blackness” was transmittable, and people shouldn’t come too near her if they didn’t want their skin to turn black. Don’t be surprised, you know how ignorance could become evil sometimes.

So there was the new girl, coming all the way from a faraway land to a place where people didn’t speak her language, and wasn’t even getting any acceptance from her peers. I wasn’t convinced by the rumor, but I was afraid. My friends would refuse to play with me if they saw me talking to her. I’d better be a member of the pack.

At that time, my mother was pretty much a single mom, since daddy was away for his job. Being the daughter of a busy mom, I was usually one of the last kids to be picked up after class. Marie happened to be one of the last kids to be picked up. It was one afternoon, when she and I were the only two left waiting. As I have mentioned before, I was an excellent eater, which lead to the fact that I was a fat kid. It was getting late, and I was hungry. My stomach was grumbling when I started to notice Marie sitting on the staircase with a bun in her hands. There were no other friends there, and I was so desperate for food. I kept staring at Marie for a while, and she looked backed at me, before I got my courage to come sit next to her. Suddenly she smiled and said something. I don’t know what language it was, could be French, could be English. I couldn’t understand a word, but I knew what she wanted to say: she asked if I wanted her to share the bun. Everything changed, that moment when I nodded at her generous offer. She split the bun in two, gave me one, and we started eating. We started to try communicating by gestures while still eating.

A moment later, her mom came. I remembered her standing there silently watching us. She’d have taken Marie home, but she waited. Then all I remember is my mom came after that and they had a few words before leaving for home. I was a kid, I was too excited with my new friend to pay attention to what the grown-ups were doing.

Marie just stayed for a year and then her family went back to France. We’ve never met again ever since. A few years after the incident, my Mom told me what Marie’s mom told her that day. The woman was so depressed and upset since Marie couldn’t find any friend at school just because of her skin color. That’s why she was surprised, and touched, when a kid didn’t show any sign of despite toward her daughter. She actually burst out and cried in the middle of the saying. At the time I didn’t realize what I’ve done, but now I know.

Time flies fast, and I grown up. I grown up a judging person who always secretly give opinion about other people in the first time meeting them. But the memory of that day always guide me back to the right thing. Don’t treat people bad just because how they look and what they seem to be. Look inside and try to bring out the best of them. I don’t need to stop judging, I just need to put it aside and look at people with the innocent eyes of a 5 year-old kid, like what I did the day I ate Marie’s half a bun.

This I believe.

2 thoughts on “This I Believe

  1. You have to state your belief at the beginning
    You have extremely wonderful story with specific details but i still cannot find what is you believe in . I think you should add your belief like i believe that color skin does not determine characteristics or behavior of people. Good organisation ^^

    Like

  2. Authentic Voice : Yes, a personal story is being told with detail. Made me feel emotional on the level she was on and what she went through.

    Narrative Coherence : The draft is very engaging and there is a personal story being told. The belief is not at the start however if it was intended to be it is rather vague. The structure and grammar need a bit more work. Along with

    Liked by 1 person

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